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ASK A PREDATORY JUNGLE CAT
It Goes to 11-11-11
November 11th, 2011

11/11- 12:00PM EST

Hello! I'm Ocelot, RPGamer's News Director. My nickname has everything to do with my love of wildlife and nothing to do with some old dude from Metal Gear Solid. Anyway, Wheels is sipping Mai Tais on a cruise right now, so I'm sitting in for him this week. Since none of you mean old readers listened to Wheels and sent me letters, (sniff) the RPGamer staff has stepped in with plenty of questions for me.

Let's a-go!


We know that "predatory cat" is redundant. We just like to remind you.





The Letters
The Shortest JuMeSyn Letter in History

I won't try your patience with letters at the length Wheels gets. Instead, I'll ask you to regale all the readers with stories of what it was like to play complicated PC RPGs in the days before the mouse was standard equipment. Please explicate these now-outmoded scenarios, won't you?


Ocelot

Funny that you ask the question like that, because I started playing RPGs on the family Apple IIgs, on which the mouse was very much standard equipment. One of the earliest RPGs I played was Dungeon Master, in which the mouse was used for everything. You'd solve puzzles by picking up and manipulating objects with the mouse, and the battle system invovled clicking the weapons on the character portraits as quickly as possible.

When I got my own PC in high school, I learned more about what it meant to play games in the Olden Days of PCs. It was oh-so-much fun to edit autoexec.bat and config.sys in order to run games. Ultima games were the worst... once, I attempted to tweak my expanded memory settings in order to run Ultima: Savage Worlds. I must have done something wrong, because it did nothing but rain Greek characters down the screen when I booted it up. Fortunately, I had backed up all 40 megabytes of my hard drive, and I somehow managed to make the game run in the end.

PC RPGs were pretty directly inspired by Pencil 'n' Paper RPGs back then, so there was a lot of statistic-rolling involved, and combat was frequently turn-based. Whether controlled by mouse or keyboard, many of them involved twisty dungeons and no auto-map feature. I was always pretty miserable at drawing maps on graph paper, so I'd frequently end up buying the hint book for the games once the dungeons started getting particularly twisty. I loved those old RPGs, though many of them haven't exactly aged well. A few of them have, and I'll be talking about those in my response to the next letter!

Bonus! Is Suikoden 2 worth the prices it commands?

JuMeSyn


Ocelot

I love Suikoden 2. It's a fabulous game that everyone should have the chance to play. However, I'm also a pretty frugal person, and I don't believe anybody should be paying exorbitant Ebay prices for old games. Since Sony keeps pumping out the PSOne Classics, I think we should all hope that Suikoden 2 makes the list sooner or later.

And to answer the Suikoden 2-related question that nobody asked, when it comes to Viktor and Flik, I'm a Viktor girl. He's such an adorable big ol' teddy bear.


Did somebody say "mouse"?


Gotta Catch 'Em All!

Dear Ocelot,

As I try to send at least one letter to each of RPGamer's Q&A hosts, even if they're just covering for a day, I thought I'd send you a few questions. These are kind of random and unrelated, but that's the way I tend to write these. Hope you don't mind.


Ocelot

Of course not! I always like to chat with my newsies. :)

Anyway, I know that you had caught all of the Pokémon from the previous generation, 493 at the time. Will you be doing so again for the current generation? If so, how many have you caught? Is there some TGS-spoofing software for Black/White like there was for the fourth gen? Though I don't mean to brag, I have already caught every currently available Pokémon, some 646 creatures. The ones I don't have are the Event Legendaries that Nintendo has yet to officially unveil, Keldeo, Meoletta, and Genesect. Since those guys tend to be released once a year, I won't really finish my Pokédex until 2014 or so. Oh well, it's not like I'm in any hurry to catch 'em all.


Ocelot

Well, for starters, I'd never compete with you for the title of Pokémaster! I am a mere Pokénovice compared to you, especially in the realm of battling. I do intend to catch all of the Black/White Pokés eventually, but as the game didn't grab me quite as much as previous games have, I've put it aside for now. I've caught most of the Gen V Pokés, but I'm missing a few near the top of the list.

I've poked around in the darker corners of the Pokénet for you, and there does appear to be a preliminary GTS spoofing program for Black and White. Fortunately, so far there haven't been any Event Legendaries released to stores only, so there's less need for anybody to send themselves a spoofed Pokémon in order to catch 'em all.

Also, while I knew about it from a few months ago, I recently downloaded both DOS Box and Ultima 4, as that game is available legally for free. I managed to get the thing running, but of course as someone who has grown up on console games, and Japanese ones mostly, I haven't the foggiest on what the heck to do. If I want to actually play Ultima 4, I'll have to have a FAQ giving detailed, step-by-step directions on how to play it. Should someone like me who has never really played a Western RPG, let alone a really early one like this play it, or should I just play something like the Baldur's Gate games? I like to play older games to see what they were like back then, but there is a bit of a leap between Phantasy Star I and Ultima 4 or earlier.

Well, that's all I've got for today. Thanks for reading, and take care!

-Strawberry Eggs


Ocelot

Hoo boy, Ultima 4. To be honest, that game is too retro even for me. I didn't have a PC when it came out, so I entered the Ultima series with 5. For somebody who grew up with console games and wants to try that style of older PC game, I'd recommend Ultima 6-7, Might and Magic 3-7, and Wizardry 7. All of these are a bit more modern and easier to understand. Of that list, only the Might and Magic games and Ultima 6 are available on GoG.com so far.

Of course, Baldur's Gate 1-2 are always good choices to try out, as are Fallouts 1-2, Planescape: Torment, Betrayal at Krondor, and Arcanum. All of those games are available on GoG for just a few bucks. Thanks for your letter!


We like to catch 'em all, too!

Horsebirds for Ocelot?

Hey Oce,

Just curious what your thoughts are about the changes being made to Final Fantasy XIV? Do you think they'll do enough with it to get it off of your ignore list? What would it take for you to care about this or any other Square Enix MMO?

Ocelot

You had to open that can of worms, eh Mac? I haven't paid a ton of attention to all the changes in Final Fantasy XIV, as I'm highly unlikely to try it out. I have yet to see any evidence that Square Enix understands how to remove the grindiness from its MMORPGs, and overall the entire design philosophy behind the FF MMORPGs seems very creaky and old-fashioned to me.

Lately I've been playing with DC Universe Online, which is decently fun. I've been moving more and more towards action-based combat systems in MMOs, in which I can move around freely, there's no auto-attacking, and I get to dodge and weave around the enemies. That kind of combat, an interesting world with great lore, amazing world design, actual role-playing choices, and a general lack of the "grind" feeling are what I'm looking for in an MMORPG. Basically, I'm just waiting for Guild Wars 2 to come out.

Maybe Dragon Quest X is more your speed? I have to say that the more I see of DQX, the more it looks like DQIX on speed. I don't want to like it, but I can't help myself.

- Macstorm


Ocelot

Problem is, I already played DQIX. I liked it, but now I'm done with it. I like my DQ games to be single-player, honestly. Also, while I like Toriyama's monster designs, I can't stand his character designs. I don't want to watch a Toriyama character for hours on end in an MMO. Sorry Mac, but when it comes to my massively multiplayer entertainment, Square Enix just hasn't grabbed me at all.
The Wheelman Himself Writes In

Dear Ocelot,

Enjoying doing Q&A?


Ocelot

Yep! I've only broken the template and had to start over once so far!

I have just a few quick questions as typing on an iPhone is slow.

1. Why is the Suikoden series so awesome?


Ocelot

The Suikoden games are a heady mix of politics, great characters, and a well-made world with a ton of mystery. Recruiting the Stars of Destiny has that Pokemon kind of feel to it, except each Star has a background and personality. Sure, the combat system isn't the greatest, but for those of us who love stories and characters in RPGs, Suikoden 1-3 and 5 can't be beat.

2. Spiderweb Software games rule, ignore the horrible looking pixel bread!


Ocelot

I was playing Spiderweb Software games when you were in short pants, whippersnapper! I've never finished one, though. Ultimately, my problem with them is that they just haven't evolved enough for me... or maybe the combat just takes too long. In the end, I've just got too many other games to play to delve into a very, very long RPG that will mostly make me say "meh."

3. What is your favorite Kawazu game? Bonus points for SaGa games.


Ocelot

Sorry, Wheel-io. The only experience I've had with a SaGa game is with a bootleg version of SaGa Frontier. Without the manual, I was unable to get past the first area! The controls just didn't seem to do what I thought they should, and I was stymied. My two favourite Kawazu games are Final Fantasy XII and Legend of Mana, both of which I greatly enjoyed.

4. What do you think is the most underrated RPG of all time?

Gotta go , time for a tropical drink...

-Wheels



Ocelot

Hmm, of all time? That's a tough one for me, because I can't think of any generally-disliked RPG that I thought was the bees knees. Perhaps I'll go with Rogue Galaxy as an underrated RPG that I thought was pretty darn fun. I'm such a Level-5 fangirl. Have fun on your boat! (Link is decidedly NSFW)


Suikoden makes us happy!

Harvest Moon Girly Chat!

Dear Ocelot,

I've heard you've been playing tons of Harvest Moon: A Tale of Two Towns. What are your impressions so far? Who are you thinking of marrying? Which character do you think is the biggest cutie patooie? I'm inclined to say Cam, but I certainly want to know your thoughts.

Ocelot

I'm generally liking Tale of Two Towns, though the 3DS version has occasional freezing issues. I don't think I like it quite as much as you do, but I do think it's the best portable Harvest Moon game this generation. As far as who I'm marrying, I will probably go with Cam like you did, because he's such a sweetie. Most of the boys are adorable, though, except the doctor who looks like he's 12. I could see myself going for Ash, Dirk, or Kana as well, depending on how our dates go. The cutest character in the game has to be the little girl who holds the panda plushie... she was totally designed to melt hearts!

Also, who are you planning on marrying in Rune Factory: Tides of Destiny? Everyone keeps teasing me because I was thinking of having Sonja marry Bismark, who might I add, is currently wearing gauntlets and a pirate hat. See? Even Bisy can kick butt too! For Aden however, I'm not sure between Odette and Maerwen, though that Fowl Sorcerous guy keeps telling me that Maerwen is lame because she's an elf.


Ocelot

I'm not sure about this, but I think you have to choose between playing Sonja and Aden after you finish the main story. If that's the case, I'm sticking with Aden, and I can't say who I want him to marry because it's a spoiler! I'm glad to hear that Bismark grows a pair later on in the game, but I think I'd still marry James if I were playing Sonja. His blond locks are dreamy, and I try to ignore that thing where he likes his sister too much.

Any who, good luck with Q&A! :)

- Sam "Nyx" Marchello

P.S. James is a creepy face. :P


Ocelot

Is not! He has a girlfriend on another island! Really! Totally not a "girlfriend." ::nods::

Okay, the rest of you can come back to us now. We're done talking about Harvest Moon and Rune Factory.


Harvest Moon is Playtime!
IN CLOSING

Whew, that's hard work! It was fun, but I think Wheels can keep this gig. I hope you all enjoyed this guest edition of Q&A; keep sending in those questions for Wheels!

-Ocelot


And now it is nap time!


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